Avonbridge family rocked by son’s illness praise support of crucial service

Karen and George Robertson are pictured with son Blair who was diagnosed with transverse myelitis. Picture: Michael Gillen
Karen and George Robertson are pictured with son Blair who was diagnosed with transverse myelitis. Picture: Michael Gillen

A mum and dad have paid tribute to a safe base which provided invaluable support when their son took seriously ill.

Karen and George Robertson (both 37) want to raise awareness of Ronald McDonald House in Glasgow, a crucial service which grants parents a free place to stay when their child is in hospital.

In March, the couple — owners of the Avonside Inn pub in Avonbridge — were given the devastating news their son Blair (14) had a 30 per cent chance of walking again as he’d developed transverse myelitis and was paralysed from the neck down.

The hammerblow came after the Grangemouth High School pupil fell in hospital, where he had originally been tested for meningitis.

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A neurological disorder, transverse myelitis interrupts messages sent around the body by spinal cord nerves. Remarkably, Blair defied his diagnosis and walked out of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children after just six weeks. Since then, his family and friends and Avonside Inn customers have raised £4925 for Ronald McDonald House, which relies solely on donations to operate, via raffles, prize bingos and a fun day.

Mum Karen said: “We’re very lucky and it was a miracle our son walked out. Within a day of being in hospital we were moved into Ronald McDonald House. You’re allowed visitors and it meant we could be a family when we needed to be because it’s a trying time.”